encouragement

he turns his back on me
in bed
and calls it
encouragement
asking me
why why why
i don’t get my poems
published
i tell him i’m not motivated
to send something 50 places
get 49 rejections
finally publish
in some small literary review
nobody reads
for no money
that was after we had sex
before we had sex
he tried to convince me
he was an expert
dream interpreter
and i tried to convince him
i was an expert too
that was a stalemate
in the other thing
after the sex
he got too close
he said i didn’t know
which poems of mine
were good
that was obvious
from the poems i submitted
to his newspaper
insinuating that poems
i thought were good
were bad
naturally i told him
he had no taste

i slept on the living room floor
my head hurts
my back hurts
i feel like i’m hungover
and i haven’t had a drink
for five years
i just hope
no more encouragement
comes this way

wendy shaffer

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